September 26, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Weekly reads: Hox, exosome IND app, stem cell quiz, more

Perseid Meteor Shower photo composite. Credit: John Ashley. outdoor science
Outdoor science at its best: watching the Perseid Meteor Shower photo composite. Credit: John Ashley.

What science and stem cell pubs are you reading right now and what do you hope to get too soon?

Sometimes science means getting out in the field. Now there are no wild stem cells out there roaming the fields to catch and analyze, but there are other ways.

A couple of my kids and I went out to watch the Perseid Meteor Shower a few weeks back. We brought our camera with us to try to catch some meteors with leaving the shutter open a long time.

We didn’t have any luck capturing meteors on camera, but we saw quite a lot of good ones ourselves.

In case you missed the shower, I found these on the web from this wonderful year of 2020: Favorite Perseid Meteor Shower photos. See one at left.

Now on to the recommend science reads for the week. If you are here for the weekly stem cell quiz question, it’s at the bottom and I’ll reveal the answer on Monday or Tuesday. Make your guesses in the comments please.

What’s real? Laureate Eugene Wigner and a physics puzzle

Quantum paradox points to shaky foundations of reality. Nobel Laureate physicist Eugene Wigner came up with a puzzle that is reminiscent of Schrodinger’s Cat. Wigner’s friend is a paradox that is still sparking debates and new discoveries in science.

Here’s a new research paper just from a few days ago about it.

Recommended science pubs

I don’t know why, but somehow most of the stuff on my science to-read or already read list is within the Nature Publishing Group family this week.Modeling Human Disease, Cell, gene editing & stem cell science

Exosome firm Kimera submits IND application for COVID

I’ve been following a firm called Kimera Labs, one of the main suppliers of exosomes in the U.S. One of my concerns in that space has been that stem cell-like clinics have been injecting people with unproven and non-FDA approved exosomes for years and that trend seems to be increasing.

As to Kimera, I’ve been concerned that their exosomes have been used clinically by some physicians, although the material is not yet an FDA approved drug. The FDA also sent them an untitled letter a few months ago about this too.

Now Kimera has filed an IND application with the FDA, which I see as a positive step. Still, I found it remarkable that in the PR about the new IND application it is stated boldly that their product has already been used as a supposed treatment tens of thousands of times in patients:

“Founded in 2012, Kimera® generated the first publicly available isolated exosome product and has treated over 35,000 thousand patients for a variety of investigational uses.”

I’m scratching my head on that one.

Without a drug approval or to my knowledge even any other IND clearance, how could you have already treated tens of thousands of patients?

Weekly stem cell quiz question

I’m starting a new feature, which will be a weekly quiz question about stem cells and regenerative medicine. Here is today’s question and as I said at the top of the post, add your answers as comments.

What scientist working on cell fate and transcription at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in a way helped lay the foundation for Shinya Yamanaka’s later production of IPS cells in 2006? Bonus: What factor is this scientist arguably most well known for studying and why is it relevant to reprogramming?